"Cover" of the first issue of Go Fish
Comics have gone digital. It was inevitable in this day-in-age that they would. This digital transition means that the world of comics is expanding at a rate faster than anyone can keep track because it is providing young amateur comic writers and artists with a way to get their material out there. Rachael Peabody, a 26-year-old Johnson State College graduate, is taking full advanatage of that opportunity with her web-comic Go Fish.
Go Fish "is the story of Roger, the blatant atheist, and a god of nightmares named Baxter. Baxter has enlisted Roger to aid him in a quest to gain a spot in a more popular religion. But the Realm of the Divine, the home and origin of all religions, is out to stop Baxter and, on the side, destroy Roger," according to Peabody. The story itself includes deities from several religions and some she invented herself. When asked why she chose to include figures from various religions, Peabody says "I really like the idea of religions and mythologies. They're so interesting; like the hardest to read books with a hundred variations and millions of characters. And powerful as hell. There's no way I could have just chosen one. I even made up a few of my own gods. Chances are they exist to someone. I enjoy Egyptian and Aztec mythologies the most. I think they are sexy. You probably won't see any Norse gods in (Go Fish) in more than just the background."
Peabody, who lives in Northern Vermont and works for Green Mountain Coffee "to support (her) drawing and spending habits," has been doing Go Fish since 2005 when she created the comic out of anger at some readers of an older comic she was writing. "I can see now why it failed and why people didn't like it," she says, "(it was) complicated and (had) too many characters with histories,but it upset me. So I set out to write a comic with as few characters as possible and no back story. It was a hit. Of course, being that I am me, the story is getting a bit deeper and the so are the characters. I think I have a good reign on it nowadays, though." The title of the strip, Peabody says, was actually a working title that just stuck. The subtitle, "Behind Every Atheist is a God With a Plan," she calls "pure gold."
What began as just a response to critiscm and an idea in a creative mind, however, took off and is now 13 issues long and four years old. Peabody even did a short animation based on the comic for her senior project. However, she never really imagined it being as successful as it has become and didn't have a fully-developed story in mind. "When I saw it was taking off," she says, "I knew I had to come up with more, so I added more story. I do have an ending for it, but with additions to the series like Karen, Hina Ika, Tlaloc and so on, the story gets longer and more difficult. I spend a lot of nights trying to tie everything together in my mind. When I try to get it onto paper or a computer file it becomes too wordy. I think there will be one more character addition to the series and I will cut myself off. I'm getting closer to the end and I don't really want to drag it on forever. As much as I love the story."
When the end does come, fans will surely miss Roger, Baxter, Alex Sleeper (Roger's best friend) and Tlaloc, another god in the story who is a fan favorite. As for her Peabody's own personal favorite character: "Alex Sleeper. He's basically my male self-insert. A friend told me to project my femininity into some character so that I could make Roger more masculine. I'm not so fond of my female characters most of the time so I dumped them onto Alex (poor guy). Any emotions or mental struggles Alex goes through are probably my own. Also, this way I can totally get it on with Tlaloc."
The fanbase for Go Fish is small but loyal and the comic's homepage features a section of fan art and a forum where fans can talk to the author. You can even buy some Go Fish merchandise if you are so inclined.
Go Fish is first hand drawn by Peabody, then the color and dimension are later added on her computer. Her artistic style is simple and fun, it looks great, and she has a propensity for giving her characters wonderful facial expressions. Her story is well crafted and, often times, hilarious. It is geared for an adult audience and features some harsh language, violence and sex (one gag involves Baxter manipulating Roger to do what he wants by causing him to have continuous orgasms) but is by no means a comic that should be missed.
Go Fish is a terriffic example of local underground talent in the comic world. If you're tired of the mainstream and want to check out a great web-comic while supporting the endeavors of a fellow Vermonter, then Go Fish is the comic for you.